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Against Democracy: New Preface Paperback – September 26, 2017

4.5 out of 5 stars 125 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


"One of Zócalo’s 10 Favorite Books of 2016"

"Challenging and insightful."---Alexander William Salter, Public Choice

"A brash, well-argued diatribe against the democratic system. There is much to mull over in this brazen stab at the American electoral process. . . . [I]n the current toxic partisan climate, Brennan's polemic is as worth weighing as any other." ― Kirkus Reviews

"Important."---Ilya Somin, Washington Post Volokh Conspiracy

"Compelling. . . . This is theory that skips, rather than plods." ― Los Angeles Times

"Against Democracy seems scarily prescient today. Writing well before the twin shocks of the Brexit and the U.S. elections, the Georgetown political scientist makes a powerful case that popular democracy can be dangerous--and, provocatively, that irrational and incompetent voters should be excluded from democratic decision-making. The case for elitism in governance never read so well." ― Zocalo Public Square

"Meticulous [and] crisply written."---Tom Clark, Prospect

"The book makes compelling reading for what is typically a dry area of discourse. This is theory that skips, rather than plods."---Molly Sauter, Los Angeles Times

"Against Democracychallenges a basic precept that most people take for granted: the morality of democracy. . . . Brennan presents a variety of strategies by which the quality of the electorate could be improved, while still keeping it large, and demographically representative. . . . [A] powerful challenge to the conventional wisdom about democracy. . . . [W]orth serious consideration."---Ilya Somin, Washington Post

"Mercilessly well-argued."---Niko Kolodny, Boston Review


"Jason Brennan is a marvel: a brilliant philosopher who scrupulously studies the facts before he moralizes. In Against Democracy, his elegant method leads to the contrarian conclusion that democratic participation prompts human beings to forget common sense and common decency. Voting does not ennoble us; it tests the virtue of the best, and brings out the worst in the rest."―Bryan Caplan, author of The Myth of the Rational Voter

"The great temptation of political philosophy is to sacralize politics, and we urgently need work that teaches us not to succumb. In this valuable and bracing book, Jason Brennan challenges comfortable pieties and debunks familiar myths about political life in general and democratic rule in particular. I expect that most readers will find plenty with which to disagree―I certainly do―but also that most will find Brennan's arguments unsettlingly difficult to resist with certainty."―Jacob T. Levy, McGill University

"Against Democracy makes a useful set of challenges to both conventional wisdom and dominant trends in political philosophy and political theory, particularly democratic theory. Engagingly written, it is a lively and entertaining read."―Alexander Guerrero, University of Pennsylvania

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Product details

  • Publisher : Princeton University Press; New Preface ed. edition (September 26, 2017)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 312 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0691178496
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0691178493
  • Item Weight : 9 ounces
  • Dimensions : 5.2 x 1.1 x 7.9 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 125 ratings

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
125 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on May 22, 2017
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Reviewed in the United States on November 5, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on January 12, 2020
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Top reviews from other countries

Tom the Tomahawk
5.0 out of 5 stars Unnerving
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 14, 2017
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3 people found this helpful
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Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars he makes a good case for representative democracy as opposed to a direct ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 8, 2016
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5 people found this helpful
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Lee Morrissey
4.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly compelling
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 9, 2017
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3 people found this helpful
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Giuseppe Cacciatore
5.0 out of 5 stars A well-written and rigorous case against "democracy at all costs"
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 26, 2017
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2 people found this helpful
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Terra X
5.0 out of 5 stars Verheerende Kritik an der Demokratie
Reviewed in Germany on August 27, 2019
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